GA!: Who is Marty Lineberger?
Marty: I am a native resident of Gaston County. I am married and have two sons, who are constantly keeping me on my toes. I am a lifelong member of Lutheran Chapel Church in Gastonia. In fact, our sons, Ethan and Bryson, are the 8th consecutive generation of Linebergers to be baptized at Lutheran Chapel.
I enjoy golf, tennis and traveling, but owning a small business limits my free time. I am fortunate to have served on several national councils for the appliance industry, which have allowed me to gain valuable knowledge and key contacts within the field.
I believe in supporting my community, including buying locally and helping local causes, and doing so has always been very important to me. Every purchase made in my store helps support the Shelter of Gaston County. I was Vice President of Habitat for Humanity, and I am a member of the Gaston and Montcross Chambers of Commerce.
GA!: How did you get into the appliance business?
Marty: I suppose it was destiny. I was working for a company while I was in school, and I had several opportunities, but somehow corporate never followed through with them. I told my parents I wanted to come into the family business, but in the beginning I did not intend to stay. However, it has been 20 years and I’m still here, so I guess it’s for good.
GA!: Are appliances the only products you sell?
Marty: No. While they are the heart of our business, we have several other items and are always in the market for quality products. We sell the Big Green Egg, which is very versatile and a great choice because it can be used as a grill, smoker or oven. We also carry a line of grills by Napoleon, as well as improvements for any outdoor area including patio heaters, waterfalls and fireplaces. In addition, we carry many products that contribute to in-home protection and power management for the home.
GA!: As a small business, you have to multitask. In which areas of your business are you most involved?
Marty: I am heavily involved in every aspect. I am the CEO, the service manager and even the intern in the mailroom. I love working in the field – from performing service calls and installing new appliances, to sitting down with customers in the store and planning the remodeling of their kitchen. I have always told my employees that I will never ask them to do anything I wouldn’t and I try to lead by example.
GA!: Tell us more about the Big Green Egg.
Marty: Your magazine is not large enough for me to cover everything! I love it and use it so often that my neighbors think we do not have a stove. I cook on mine at least four nights a week, and it makes the food flavor phenomenal! Visit the Facebook page Gaston Eggheads and see what my customers have to say. We also offer cooking demos at the store during special events and by reservation.
GA!: Congratulations! Reliable just celebrated its 53rd Anniversary. What have you done to stay in business that long?
Marty: I have stayed focused on what matters – trust, honesty and doing what is right. I have to thank my parents, who started the business on March 6, 1961. They worked hard and even struggled at times, but were determined to make it successful. I am so blessed that they instilled in me the value of hard work and honesty. Alfred and Kay Lineberger, you two are the reason for our success, and I will always be thankful for the life lessons you taught me!
GA!: How do today’s appliances compare to those built years ago?
Marty: The appliance industry has changed more in the last five years than the last 25. Everything runs off of electronic boards in order to reduce the cost of energy, which is great, but the downside is that these appliances will not last like your mother’s Maytag washer. Also, buying from Reliable will be beneficial when your appliance needs service, because we have trained and qualified professionals to fix your product. We are proud to say we are the only full service appliance store!
GA!: How has the influence of Big Box Stores affected your business?
Marty: Greatly! They command what happens in the marketplace for my business, as well as many others. Although I have lost some market share to bigger stores, my focus is selling valued products and services, as well as creating relationships with my customers. While they do offer lower prices, bigger stores do not often do not provide professional installation, do not have a service department or stock parts for your appliance, and do not offer free help with your appliances. At Reliable, the relationship only begins with the purchase, and we will be here to help with your appliances in any way possible!
3001 Union Road, Gastonia, NC